Sunday, January 23, 2011

Fabric bead necklace

I have been trying to curtail holiday spending - but I still like to give the people dearest to me something really gorgeous, even spectacular. I have some small bits of exclusive, high-end fabrics in my stash: a bit of Liberty tana lawn left over from another project, and a narrow piece of Roberto Cavalli silk charmeuse. and I also remembered reading a Threads article about making fabric necklaces.

This project is extremely fast, and if you have the right fabric, inexpensive. I bought 1 " wooden beads at Michael's. You can spray paint the beads silver or gold if you're using silk georgette or chiffon, and a bit of sparkle will charmingly show through. You can also use styrofoam beads, but I wasn't very happy working with the crumbly texture. Styrofoam has the advantage of being lighter, so your necklace won't weigh on your neck.

Cut the fabric into 5" strips. Piece the strips together until you have enough. I sewed together 2 strips 45 inches in length to yield a long strip 5 inches wide and 89 inches in length.

You want to sew that center seam together very, very well so it won't pop apart when you start knotting the necklace - take my word on that.

You then fold the strip lengthwise and seam the long end. You don't want this seam too bulky but best if it doesn't pop apart. Trim close to the stitching and turn the tube right-side out. Press. You can press over a dowel if you have one handy.

I started by knotting the fabric right in the middle to hide the visible seam. Then just insert the beads and knot tightly after each bead. You might need to practice a bit to get the knots tight enough and keep them close to the beads, but this isn't a high-stress project. You'll be finished in 20 minutes.

When the necklace is as long as you want it, just press the ends neatly, slip-stich closed and tie a neat bow. You can secure the bow with a few stab stitches, if you like. And presto: an elegant and impressive necklace made with under $10 of materials (provided you had the fabric in your stash.)

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